Financial services media highlights - November 2023

Financial services media highlights - November 2023

The Briefing

22 November 2023
14 minute read
  Key highlights
  • Digital banking is reshaping the financial industry, with significant increases in digital sales reported by Southern European banks.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital banking, with 78% of Americans now preferring online banking over in-person visits.
  • Digital banking offers convenience, accessibility, and 24/7 availability, catering to a wide range of customers.
  • Fiber optic routing improves the efficiency and security of online banking.
  • Traditional banks offer security and a wide range of services, while digital startups excel in affordability, ease of use, and cutting-edge features.
  • Data-driven decision-making is crucial in digital banking, with big data analysis leading to increased revenue and reduced operating costs.
  • FinTech companies are disrupting the financial services industry, often collaborating with traditional institutions for mutual benefits.
  • Blockchain, AI, and facial recognition technologies are transforming banking and paving the way for more integrated, safe, and effective financial services in the future.


The advent of digital banking is causing a significant upheaval in the financial services sector. With an eye on the future potential of digital banking, this article examines the major developments and issues in this field. The financial services industry is undergoing major disruption as a result of the introduction of digital banking. Recently, banks in Southern Europe have reported a significant increase in digital sales in the first quarter, with more gains expected in the second quarter. 

For example, during the first quarter of this year, digital sales at Intesa nearly doubled, Banco BPM's Webank witnessed a 59% growth, and digital sales at UniCredit climbed by 15%. Notably, BBVA led the way with 63% of its product sales via digital channels, followed by Santander (43%) and Bankia (40%). UniCredit trailed behind with 18%. 

The decrease in physical sales during the COVD-19 lockdown is partially responsible for this shift in sales toward digital platforms. This demonstrates how digital banking can change the financial industry and how it is still evolving. Our relationship with money has changed dramatically as a result of the fusion of technology and finance, creating new opportunities for convenience and creativity. We'll explore the key components of this digital revolution and its implications for the financial services industry in this post.

The Digital Banking Boom

Over the last ten years, digital banking has experienced a remarkable shift, and there are no indicators that this trend will slow down. An era of unmatched convenience and accessibility has arrived as a result of the appeal of online and mobile banking services, which have completely changed the way customers handle their accounts. The user-friendly and effective options provided by digital banking have gradually eclipsed traditional banking practices, including going to a physical branch, calling, or utilizing ATMs. In response to this shift, IncredibleBank took a proactive step by maintaining drive-through access while closing the lobby areas of its fifteen branches. This action led to a sharp increase in the use of mobile applications, especially over the last week. Customers are already utilizing the app for a number of financial tasks, including bill and loan payments. This change's motivation is also a result of how modern banking clients' requirements and expectations have evolved.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which swept across the globe, accelerated the adoption of digital banking. With many banks closing physical locations or adjusting their operating hours for health and safety reasons, the reliance on in-person banking decreased. Customer support lines were inundated, further emphasizing the convenience of digital banking solutions. To meet their financial demands during these difficult times, customers looked to digital banking products for their simplicity and dependability. The pandemic not only made the trend more pronounced but also established digital banking as a crucial element of the contemporary banking environment.

A 2023 Forbes Advisor U.S. Consumer Banking numbers report has one of the most striking numbers illustrating this shift. The study reveals that approximately 78% of Americans now prefer conducting their banking activities through a mobile app or website rather than in-person visits to a physical branch. This choice demonstrates how much digital banking has permeated customers' everyday financial routines.

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Digital banking's appeal lies in its ability to put the power of financial management directly into the hands of consumers. With a few taps on a mobile device or clicks on a website, individuals can effortlessly check their account balances, initiate transactions, set up investments, and gain insights into their financial health. The 24/7 availability and user-friendly interfaces have made digital banking the go-to choice for a wide spectrum of customers, from tech-savvy millennials to those who value the convenience and efficiency it offers.

Each strategy has unique benefits and drawbacks when contrasting digital banking start-ups with traditional banking. Because of their established track record and regulatory supervision, traditional banks provide a feeling of security and trust. They offer a greater choice of services as well as real branches for in-person encounters. On the other hand, traditional banks might not offer as many conveniences, might charge more fees, and might be slower to adopt new technologies. Conversely, start-ups in the digital banking space shine in terms of affordability, ease of use, and cutting-edge features. They serve a worldwide clientele and are available 24/7. However, they have restricted service choices, security issues, and regulatory difficulties in some areas. The decision between digital start-ups and traditional banking ultimately comes down to personal tastes and requirements, as each offers pros and cons of its own.

Challenges and Opportunities

In the rapidly evolving realm of online banking, where the global market is projected to reach an astounding $25.5 trillion by 2026, the imperative for bolstering security measures has never been more pronounced. The data from the Federal Reserve underlines the importance of this by showing that more than 75% of all Americans regularly use online banking services, demonstrating the widespread reliance on digital financial solutions. As the digital era brings with it both possibilities and difficulties, attention turns to the critical issues of privacy and security.

The increase in cyber risks presents a significant obstacle for the banking sector as it navigates the path of digital transformation. Innovative solutions are required to strengthen security and safeguard the integrity of consumer data in light of the increase in digital banking. Within this framework, the use of fiber optic fiber routing appears to be a strong reaction to the changing demands of digital banking. To improve the security of online banking, fiber optics—which are known for their superior speed and enhanced security—have taken center stage. These translucent fibers of glass or plastic convey data at lightning speeds while transferring information securely using light pulses.

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Online banking benefits from the advantages provided by fiber optic fiber routing. Its unparalleled speed is its primary feature; it guarantees quick and secure online banking operations and understands how important time efficiency is. Second, it greatly improves security. The intricacy of connecting to fiber optic cables adds another level of protection to online banking transactions, lowering the possibility of illegal access or data interception. Furthermore, fiber optic connections are immune to outside influences like bad weather and electromagnetic interference because of their durability and reliability, which protects online banking systems from interruption. Ultimately, the scalability that fiber optic fiber routing provides enables banks to grow their online banking services without compromising strict security measures.

The integration of ease and security is critical for online banking in this era of technological advancement. Financial organizations may provide consumers with fast and secure online banking by implementing fiber optic fiber routing, giving them the peace of mind they so richly deserve. Within the developing story of the financial sector's digital revolution, these developments offer a potentially fruitful path for enhancing online banking security in the digital age.


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Fintech Disruption

Fintech has become well-known and frequently used in the financial services sector in recent years. It encompasses innovations and changes driven by technology that are changing the way financial services are designed and provided. FinTech, at its heart, is a technologically driven wave of innovation that has fundamentally altered the financial sector.

FinTech companies have contributed to this ever-changing ecosystem. These businesses, which are sometimes classified as startups, have made an effort to upend the conventional financial services industry, which has traditionally been controlled by bigger, more established organizations. These FinTech businesses' business model centers on utilizing technological breakthroughs to provide cutting-edge solutions across numerous industries, such as payments, loans, investing, and more.

A noteworthy feature of this financial technology revolution is the cooperative partnership between FinTech companies and traditional institutions. JPMorgan Chase, one of the largest traditional banks, collaborated with Plaid, a fintech startup specializing in financial data integration. JPMorgan Chase improved its clients' ability to securely link their bank accounts to a variety of fintech apps and
services by incorporating Plaid's technology onto its platform.
Customers had a more easygoing and smooth experience as a result of this engagement, demonstrating the benefits of these kinds of alliances in enhancing financial services. This partnership between Fintech companies and traditional institutions has become the industry's recurrent motif. Reacting to the revolutionary potential of FinTech advances, established institutions have begun to create their own FinTech units. They may take advantage of the dynamism and agility that FinTech businesses offer by using this tactic.

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Citigroup launched the Citi FinTech division, underscoring the importance and potential of this evolving landscape. This specialist team is solely focused on creating fresh mobile banking offerings and investigating cutting-edge business concepts. This move demonstrates the understanding that traditional financial institutions must change and interact with the FinTech-driven wave of digital transformation.

Both parties stand to gain from the continuous collaboration between reputable financial institutions and innovative FinTech firms in a dynamic ecosystem. FinTech companies contribute innovative and disruptive ideas, while traditional banks offer their vast client base and regulatory know-how. The future of financial services, where innovation and customer-centric solutions are at the forefront of the industry's progress, is greatly shaped by the union of these two realms. The Wall Street Journal reports on the growth of fintech and its impact on banking.

Data-Driven Decision Making

The digital banking industry relies heavily on data, which has caused a significant shift in the way financial institutions operate. Predictive analytics is enabling banks to get a comprehensive understanding of client behavior, ushering in a new era of customized services and proactive risk management. This data-centric approach opens up hitherto undiscovered avenues for efficiency and growth in addition to providing highly tailored financial experiences.

A thorough international study carried out inside the banking sector emphasizes the importance of efficient big data analysis. It reveals that such analysis can result in an average increase of 8% in revenue and a simultaneous reduction of 10% in operating costs. The CEO of BARC and co-author of an extensive study, Dr. Carsten Bange, highlights the benefits of big data analytics but cautions against underestimating its inherent limitations. According to their research, organizations that are currently implementing big data efforts are more concerned about data security and privacy. The urgent problem of a lack of internal knowledge in the commercial and technological facets of big data analysis follows shortly. Many companies are expressing plans to solve this by creating new positions in the field, but Dr. Bange warns that the global labor market might find it difficult to provide the growing demand for such specialized skills, which could slow the big data boom. Financial institutions risk losing ground to their more data-savvy rivals if they don't build the necessary data infrastructure and foster a data-driven culture. This puts their ability to compete and remain relevant in the ever-changing financial market at risk. Success in the world of digital banking now requires adopting data-driven strategies—it is no longer just a choice.

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The Future of Banking

Banking is changing quickly thanks to several ground-breaking advances in a time when technology and money are closely related. These advancements have the potential to reshape the financial industry as we know it. It all began in 1918 with the telegraph, which played a critical role in globalizing finance, setting the stage for the globalization of financial transactions. The creation of the first consumer credit card by Diners Club in the 1950s marked an essential turning point in the development of financial technology. Frank McNamara established Diners Club with the goal of achieving broad acceptance of credit cards. No other company had accomplished this at the time, and Diners Club became the first significant multifunctional charge card provider, setting the precedent for others to fulfill McNamara's prediction. This innovative action set the stage for the advancement of contemporary financial technology infrastructure. Let's go back to the 1960s when Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) became a revolutionary invention. They transformed how customers could access their money and changed the banking industry, which led to a fall in the roles of traditional bank tellers.

The impact of ATMs extends beyond accessibility, with approximately 15,000 ATMs often outnumbering retail branches. The banks are currently investigating methods to improve the user experience for customers at these ATM locations. Connectivity between users at ATMs and remote bankers, which would usher in a new era of interactive banking, is one fascinating prospect under consideration. One of the most important components of the larger digital transformation that big retail banks are going through is this proactive strategy. Talks about the connection and security solutions needed to power the cutting-edge features of next-generation ATMs are already underway as these developments take shape. The incorporation of these technologies embodies the spirit of innovation and cooperation between established banking and cutting-edge technology, reflecting the financial sector's unwavering quest for advancement and change. 

Mobile banking originally became popular in the late 1990s, with Finland setting the bar by developing the first SMS-based mobile banking service. In 2008, robo-advisors made their debut, catering to tech-savvy Millennials and providing inexpensive automated investing advice. Launched in 2009, Bitcoin was a digital cryptocurrency that challenged traditional fiat currencies and ushered in a new era of financial transactions. 

Blockchain technology, which is based on complex algorithms and consensus procedures, provided a visionary new direction for the financial industry, motivating both advanced fintech startups and well-established industry heavyweights. The inherent dependability and transparency potential of this technology changed how financial transactions are carried out. Then, another major turning point was the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) in 2013. Banking organizations started using AI for business purposes, utilizing strong engines like IBM's Watson to learn more about their customers. The impact of AI also spread to hedge funds, asset managers, and investment banks where it became a mainstay in financial research and forecasting market trends.

The application of AI-powered robo-advisors is evidence of how AI is affecting financial services. These platforms—Washfront and Betterment, for example—manage customer portfolios and offer individualized financial advice using AI algorithms. They have reduced costs and drawn a diverse group of investors by automating investment decisions and limiting human participation, increasing revenue for the businesses and their clients.

Facial recognition has gained acceptance in the financial industry as a biometric authentication technique for payments and retail banking. Technologies like "smile to pay" have made authentication procedures easier and enabled users to make safe mobile payments using the cameras on their smartphones. Cloud hosting solutions made their way into the banking sector in 2016, bringing with them increased employee mobility, efficiency, and productivity.

These benchmarks demonstrate the partnership between technology and finance and show the financial sector's unwavering path of innovation and transformation. Blockchain-enabled secure transactions, proactive and customized financial advising, and a blurring of traditional banking lines are all anticipated developments in the future of banking. J.P. Morgan announced on April 12, 2021, that they have adopted blockchain technology to enhance money transfers, aiming to reduce both payment processing times and verification requirements for substantial transactions. These developments are paving the way for a more innovative, efficient, and linked financial world as the financial landscape rapidly changes.

In Conclusion

The digital banking revolution has had a lasting impact on the financial services industry, changing the way people manage their money. We suggest three survey themes for an in-depth investigation to go further into this life-changing experience:

Consumer Preferences and Security Precautions:
  • Examine the causes of the switch to online banking platforms.
  • Analyze customer preferences for online banking services.
  • Explore the security measures that foster trust in digital banking.
Role of Fintech in Conventional Banking:
  • Examine how traditional banking is being affected by and transformed by fintech.
  • Study the collaborative efforts between fintech companies and conventional banks.
Future of Banking Innovation:
  • Gain insights into the future of the financial industry by assessing ongoing banking innovations.
  • Explore emerging technologies and trends shaping the financial services landscape.

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